Information on zoo licensing

If you intend to run a zoo and exhibit wild animals (other than for a circus or a pet shop), which the public access for more than seven days a year, you will need to apply to the council for a licence under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 This link will take you to an external website... .*

Please make yourself familiar with the following information before making an application:

There are conditions attached to the licence you will need to achieve, which aim to protect the welfare of the animals and maintain standards in the management of your zoo, as well as ensure public safety. 

Apply for a zoo licence

Instructions on how to apply for a licence and an online application form can be found here GOV.UK This link will take you to an external website...

Application charges

We make a non refundable charge to consider a licence application and you must pay your fees in full when the application is made. The council will need the advice of a vet to inspect your zoo before we can consider issuing you with a licence, the cost of which we will recharge to you.


We aim to issue the licence or give reasons why a licence was not granted within six months of receipt of a complete application form where the licence fee has been paid in full.

Before an application is submitted we must have been given two months prior notice of the following information:

  • the situation of the zoo for which the application is to be made
  • the kinds and numbers of animals, listed in taxonomic order, and the
  • arrangements for their accommodation maintenance and wellbeing
  • the number and type of staff to be employed
  • the approximate number of visitors to the site and parking arrangements
  • the means location of means of access for the premises

The applicant must advertise their intention to apply for a licence in both a local and national newspaper and exhibit a copy of a notice at the proposed application site.  Full details the information required can be found on the Defra website.

Licenses are initially granted for four years, six years on renewal.


For all applications a site visit will need to be conducted during the consideration of the application to check the facilities of the proposed premises.  There is no deemed approval of applications until a licence is granted.

Renewal of licences

Licences are initially granted for four years (six years on renewal).  A licence will only be reissued on receipt of a new application and the appropriate fee six months before the expiry of a current licence.

Appeals and complaints

If you have concerns about how your application is handled the first point of contact will be the case officer dealing with your application.  If you are still not satisfied you can lodge a complaint firstly with their line manager. 

If you are dissatisfied with a decision not to issue a licence or by one or more of the conditions attached to your licence you can appeal to the magistrates court.  

Other considerations

The following matters are not directly taken into account when considering applications, but you are strongly encouraged to ensure that you have taken account of these issues before applying for a licence (this list is not intended to be exhaustive or comprehensive):

Contact us

If you have an enquiry about a licence you can contact Environmental Protection. 

Last reviewed: 03 - 07 - 2017

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